In our series test ride, TZR editors and writers test the hottest new beauty products and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty editor Amanda Ross is testing MakeWaves Tower 28 mascara.
There is no love lost between me and eye makeup. I feel like no matter how carefully I layer it, no matter how delicate the wand or the seemingly imperceptible color, hours later I invariably end up looking like Hot’s day shift manager Topic – a total victory at 16, less for me, a few months of 30 years old. The truth is, as controversial as the trend is, I yearn for the simple sophistication of the “clean girl” aesthetic, which is always just out of reach. The solution, however, could be Tower 28’s new MakeWaves mascara.
Launching today with a waiting list of 11,000, it’s the first-ever eye product from the top-selling clean beauty brand and the one fans have been waiting for. years. After trying it for an entire week, however, I get it – a natural-looking (but somehow so impactful?!) mascara takes significant development time. MakeWaves isn’t just really clean in its formula. It’s the kind of makeup product that makes you look cared for, like a more refined version of yourself. And it’s the best daytime mascara I’ve ever tried. Keep reading for all the details on the new launch.
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- Price: $20
- Best for: Curled and lively lashes for daily polishing.
- Your rating: 5/5
- Clean/Cruelty Free? Yes
- What we like: The formula is lightweight yet curls lashes with a comb-like wand and nourishing formula.
- What we don’t like: Only comes in one color (so far, anyway).
My daily mascara routine
Truth be told, I almost lost faith in daytime eye makeup. Sure, there were plenty of great options for va-va-voom mascaras, but very few could satisfy my daytime makeup needs. In an everyday mascara, I need lash separation, a bit of color definition (I usually use a dark brown), and eye-opening abilities with the help of my Shiseido eyelash curler. My eyes have a slight downward slope which can make me look a bit sleepy, so the curling of the lashes helps me a lot to look more alert and bright-eyed.
Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara Details
Since the brand’s debut in 2019, Tower 28, founded by Amy Liu, has carved out a niche as a clean beauty line truly committed to the cause. There’s been a lot of talk about what clean beauty actually means — and the sinister practice of “green washing” — but Tower 28 is built on radical transparency, extensive ingredient research, and accountability. Creating clean, sensitive eye mascara with a vegan formula and beneficial ingredients is a massive undertaking, but one that Liu and her team knocked out of the park.
MakeWaves innovation can be divided into two categories: formula and wand design. Formula-wise, the ingredient list is full of names you might recognize, including castor oil and vitamin B5. Not only do these ingredients help color and curl glide directly onto lashes, they are also highly hydrating and natural antioxidants to keep lashes hydrated and strong, minimizing the risk of breakage and loss. Plus, the mascara’s formula is infused with a patent-pending open-cell foam technology called Aquaflex, which is commonly used in hair care products for hold and styling. That’s a big part of why MakeWaves mascara shapes and holds curls so well. With the physical design, the mascara head is distinctly curved with soft yet firm teeth – as opposed to bristles – that catch, coat and comb each lash.
My first impression of the mascara
When I first applied MakeWaves to just one eye, I physically stopped dead and felt compelled to take a photo to capture the difference. What struck me the most immediately was the curl, which flipped with just one coat.
Without using eyelash curlers, mascara primer, anything, MakeWaves lifted my lashes and kept them there all day and night. I loved that the mascara itself didn’t feel wet, gooey or excessive, and for the first time in months I was able to apply it without getting it all over my lids.
How I Used Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara
It was clear from the start that MakeWaves would be a product I could really rely on. Really, it’s very versatile – I’ve used it on my upper lashes, on my little stubby lower lashes, to fuse my real lashes with a half strip of false, and even smudged into an angled brush as a pseudo liner. With such a durable, washable, and user-friendly formula, it was easy to start thinking creatively.
The most surprising part of the mascara was how well it reapplied. In my experience, these less moist comb-style mascaras can be harder to layer later in the day or night – it’s just harder to cut through what’s already there without clumping. But the soft, flake-free formula looked and worked exactly the same, even on older, already-dried diapers. MakeWaves has officially passed the will-it-in-my-bag test – the Hunger Games of beauty product trials.
Is MakeWaves Tower 28 Mascara Worth It?
Um, it’s a resounding yes. There’s something for everyone in this mascara: layer it for extra drama, stick to a single coat for everyday sophistication, boost short lashes, amp up long ones, and even blend real lashes into faux. Plus, the brilliantly curved wand makes application completely foolproof and (most importantly) mess-free. With so many new beauty products popping up all the time, there are very few that I would commit to repurchasing – this is absolutely one.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and produced by writers and editors with expertise in their field. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product in question, and/or their opinion or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can read more about our standards here.